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Divorce and a Shared Business

Posted on in Division of Assets

divorce and shared business, Naperville IL divorce lawyerIt can be hard enough to deal with divorce when emotions are high, changes happen quickly, and you feel overwhelmed or stressed. If you and your spouse share a company, however, things become even trickier.

Many married couples start businesses together. Having a co-worker or partner that you can trust and rely on can be amazing, and many couples have seen extreme success with their shared business ventures. Unfortunately, nearly half of all first marriages end in divorce in the U.S., with an even higher chance of divorce for second marriages. It is no surprise that many couples each year face the challenge of divorcing and dealing with a shared business. There is no correct answer to handling your shared business. You may choose to split your business, sell it, or be able to continue to work together amicably enough. No matter the outcome, you will need some help through the separation process.

Plan for the Worst, Before the Worst Happens

While discussing a prenuptial agreement can be unpleasant, especially for engaged couples or newlyweds, planning ahead of time, financially can save you a lot of stress in the long run. A prenup allows you and your spouse to decide and clearly state what will happen if the worst happens. Having a solid prenuptial agreement in place may help you and your ex set emotions aside during a divorce and refer back to plans made when you were thinking logically.

Be sure that both you and your spouse have legal representation when discussing your prenup. It is not uncommon for prenuptial agreements to be disregarded if it is later found out that one did not have an attorney present at the time of drafting. Make sure that both you and your partner both clearly state your wishes for the future of your shared business. Be honest and prepared to stick to what your best interests are for the future. The prenuptial agreement may be disregarded if a judge determines you were not truthful when drafting the agreement.

Untangle Your Issues

Too often, divorcing couples that share a business bring personal emotions into the matter. Do not let the outcome of your business be based on personal struggles. You want to be able to think clearly about your business, so try to categorize your issues. For example, sort the matters into “financial,” “personal,” and “business” categories. Once you have separated the issues you and your partner still need to deal with, you can tackle each category individually and in the best headspace.

Build Your Support Team

Though there is no right or wrong option for your business when separating with your spouse, to find the best option for you, meet with a mediator or attorney that has experience working in business and finance. He or she can help you map out specific options that would work for your company, such as continuing to work together, selling your company, or splitting your business.

Emotional support is also important when dealing with business decisions. Find a counselor that you can talk to, especially if you and your ex intend on working together. People often keep their emotions to themselves and breakdown. Find someone that you can share your stresses and problems with. Releasing these issues can help you manage your business relationship much more effectively, and your company will be better off.

Define Your Roles

As your personal relationship with your spouse changes, examine your professional relationship as well. Define clearly the roles each of you plays in your company. In doing so, you will be more easily able to determine if working together is a good option or not. If both of the roles that you play compliment each other, you may consider work together in the future. If you do end up staying in business together, have clearly defined roles early on to help both parties stay focused on what they bring to the company. Also, avoid micromanaging and duplicate roles.

Plan for Change

As you move forward together, be prepared to accept that plans may dissolve. Your business, no matter what you decide to do with it, is going to change and evolve. This means that both you and your ex need to be prepared. While the idea of the unknown future can be overwhelming, acknowledging it can help ease some stress. Understanding that you are both going to be changing, continuously, helps take the pressure off some of the decision making during your divorce.

Shared business or not, divorce is a highly stressful process. A qualified Naperville divorce attorney can help navigate you through these complicated issues. Contact the Pesce Law Group today at 630-352-2240 to learn more today.


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